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A new threat could send the price of this popular kitchen staple soaring — here's what you need to know

Italy's yield is expected to drop by 25% to 30% compared to the previous season.

Italy's yield is expected to drop by 25% to 30% compared to the previous season.

Photo Credit: iStock

The love of lemons in Italy has gone back as far as ancient Roman times, which is why recent harvest estimates have left a sour taste in people's mouths. 

What is happening? 

Global food sourcing and data hub Tridge reported in Sept. 2023 that adverse weather conditions "raised concerns about the upcoming 2023/24 harvest." Italy's lemon yield is expected to drop by 25% to 30% compared to the previous season.

The drastic drop in production is due to extreme weather conditions from May to August of 2023. May and June saw an abnormal amount of heavy rain and high humidity, while temperatures soared in July and August. 

The adverse conditions impacted flowering and fruit sets at the beginning of the growing season, and extreme heat in the summer slowed the swelling of the lemons and increased premature fruit drop and sunburn percentages, per Tridge

Why is the extreme weather so concerning? 

Lemons are a significant part of Italian culture. For centuries, lemons have been used in soaps and lotions, food and drinks, and depicted on home decor and in art, which is why this news is so unsettling. 

Extreme weather on the European peninsula is becoming more and more common. The Local Italy news site reports that 2023 was the third hottest year in the past 200 years, making the top seven hottest years all from the past decade. 

It's not just Italy, extreme weather events are increasing around the globe, impacting crops, wildlife, and human health

The extreme weather is directly related to the overheating of our planet, primarily caused by the burning of dirty energy sources like coal, oil, and gas. Toxic gases like carbon dioxide and methane act like a blanket wrapped around Earth, resulting in increased wildfires, heat waves, intense hurricanes, flooding, and drought

What can we do to cool down Earth? 

It's not all sour news, though. We can make a difference. Reducing our pollution is vital, and we can achieve that in a plethora of ways. 

From something as big as making your next car an EV or investing in solar panels to small choices like unplugging energy vampires or getting yourself a reusable water bottle instead of buying single-use plastic bottles, every little bit helps. 

We can all take steps every day to limit our impact on the environment. 

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